John O’Donohue

It is a tragic thing that this world lost John O’Donohue so early.  I had always hoped to complete the spirituel trek through the lush green hills of Ireland on one of his retreats.   If my readers haven’t heard an O’Donohue podcast or read any of his books, it’s just something that would bless your life, so, do it!  I have driven many Canadian miles listening to him read his poems…I have learned many lessons from his writing.  I am grateful for these things. 

The book, Anam Cara left a forever-impression on me.  I read and re-read portions of it because it is so inspiring, and at times, comforting.  It is a piece of writing that will always influence and guide me.

  • Anam Cara (1997)
  • Eternal Echoes (1998)
  • Conamara Blues: Poems (2000)
  • Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace (2003)
  • Benedictus: A Book of Blessings (2007)
  • The Four Elements (2010)
  • Echoes of Memory (2011)


Pat O’Donohue writes…

John saw “Memory as bringing our past into our present and connecting us to our future.” In his book Stone as the Tabernacle of Memory, he wrote:

“The soul is the home of memory, as you go through your life nothing is ever lost or forgotten; all the kindnesses and experiences of your life are gathered together in the Divine tabernacle of memory. Memory is the place where our vanished days secretly gather providing a beautiful shelter and continuity of identity. In a strange way everything that happens to us remains still alive within us. Sometimes it takes either focused attention to the past or merely a trigger moment to set off a sequence of memories.”

from To Bless The Space Between Us
          (entitled Benedictus in Europe, Ireland & the UK)

On The Death Of The Beloved

— John O’Donohue

Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts,
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.

Your love was like the dawn
Brightening over our lives
Awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of colour.

The sound of your voice
Found for us
A new music
That brightened everything.

Whatever you enfolded in your gaze
Quickened in the joy of its being;
You placed smiles like flowers
On the altar of the heart.
Your mind always sparkled
With wonder at things.

Though your days here were brief,
Your spirit was live, awake, complete.

We look towards each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.

Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul’s gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones.

When orchids brighten the earth,
Darkest winter has turned to spring;
May this dark grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.

May you continue to inspire us:

To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.

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